Praying In Public

Posted by Lillian Putnam on

Whenever I sit down at night to relinquish my stresses and struggles in prayer, there’s a part of me that always wonders, Should I pray more than this? I pray often, before every meal, in the morning, in the night. It is then that I realized something: I never pray in public. How crazy! I...

The Beauty in Serving

Posted by Lillian Putnam on

Picture this: you’re sitting in church or your weekly youth group and they’re going through the announcements. Simple enough right? You may check your phone during this time, maybe daydream a little if given enough minutes. By the end, you haven’t heard a thing of what was...

Angels 101

Posted by Lillian Putnam on

So, what do you picture when you think of the word “Angel”? Maybe a cute chubby little baby with wings comes to mind; or a tall brooding figure with enormous wings carrying a message. There are also many that consider them human looking, like us, made in the image and likeness of...

The Wisest Thing You Can Do

Posted by S. Naomi King on

“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!”   Proverbs 4:7 Solomon makes a good point. Knowledge is pretty easy to come by, especially in our day and age. Don’t know something? Google it. Confused on a subject? Look it up on Bing. Questions? Ask Yahoo. The...

The Patience of Job

Posted by S. Naomi King on

Patience is one of those things that a lot of people lack, myself included. When someone takes too long to say something, or when someone in front of me is walking too slowly, it makes me want to crash through a window and run screaming into the ocean. So if you have a problem with patience...

Don’t Look Down on Me

Posted by S. Naomi King on

Have you ever felt like your age gets in the way of experiencing something big, or doing something important? Have you ever been treated a certain way, or not trusted to handle responsibility because you’re too young? You might even feel like because of your age, you can’t really do...

I, The Pathway

Authors Note:

Hi! This is Lillian. Seeing as this is the holiday season, I kinda wanted to do something different and show you the creative writing side of this blog. This will be a new feature, where on occasion instead of a topic being discussed, it will be a short writing piece inspired by faith. This excerpt is specifically about control, and how in faith it can be hard to let go and let the Lord lead the way.



Two options stand in front of you one leading to hell, the other to heaven. Which is the safest of options? Your soul warns of the fury that shall be lashed upon you, it speaks of the glory of light heaven would bring. Those lights may flicker, ending that last hope of revival in bed. Every last breath aches, the steps leading to a white staircase. Which is most rewarding? The ability to have freedom, or happiness?

If you go down the first staircase, you will be met with the flames of darkness, charred souls and bodies screeching out for a savior. This will be agonizing, but you may do whatever you wish in this land.

The second staircase brings you upwards, to a light-shrouded grass plain. You are happy, joyful at the beautiful cathedrals and castles at your disposal, there are light cities all around you. You'll be overcome with such emotion for you will never suffer again, but you have many rules you must follow. If this is the only eternity you are given, I have but one suggestion.

Live with every moment right in front of you, do not be afraid of what you cannot see. For it is the gospel to choose the obeyed path. May a soul such as yours be graceful into its ascend, a perfect crystal orb of white energy. Choose thou lord as faithful God of your ruling, for hell is never truly free. Mortal man will never understand until the day of death, that mortals were never the center, but only the beginning of a long, twisted path.

His kingdoms know no bonds, Father of the sheep of dimensions. He Shepard's the universe with his cane of wisdom, his mind more powerful than any sun or any solar system. Seeing his kingdom, is the richest form of pleasure one can receive. Believe in what is beyond your knowledge, it is foolish to only look to your hands instead of looking through your faith.

You are a path, directed by free choice. Live as though you look to a Shepard, be guided by your freedom for in death you will be restricted. Let the Shepherd guide your path to salvation.

 

Praying In Public

Whenever I sit down at night to relinquish my stresses and struggles in prayer, there’s a part of me that always wonders, Should I pray more than this? I pray often, before every meal, in the morning, in the night. It is then that I realized something: I never pray in public. How crazy! I couldn’t recount one time that I had openly prayed before a lecture, or at the mall. Not at all. Why is that?, I pondered.

A recent study I discovered by pewforum found that the majority of those that pray daily, are usually older generations overall. Younger generations such as millennials and generation Z had a lower percentage point when it came to prayer frequency. What could this possibly mean when it comes to praying in public? Think about it, most younger generations spend their time in the most public place of all; a school building.

Schools are filled from corner to corner with people in your same age group. Whenever we feel like we want to pray in these public places, a lot of people first consider how many eyes are on them. It can be troubling to worry about whether or not a person will judge you if you were to pray. Worry not however, because there is a way to become more confident in prayer

Focus your attention on God! Even if you’re in public, you’d be surprised how quickly you can slip into a private state of mind when looking into the word. Sometimes we think that if we were to pray we would be ostracized, but the reality is that barely anyone notices. At least, not the people that should. The only thing you need to focus on when praying is God and God alone. Remember that you shouldn’t be afraid to embrace your beliefs, even in a public setting. They are yours, after all

If you’re worried your friends will make fun of you, it’s possible you may need to look a little deeper into whether or not those friends are good for you. If they don’t allow you to truly be yourself in public and express that, then you have a problem.

Consider the following questions for this topic:

  1. how often to you pray in public?
  2. Do you ever worry about what others think when praying?


Prayer Of The Month:
I submit my prayers to you, Oh God, on this beautiful day. Give me courage, strength and confidence to face the trials and temptations that may lay ahead.

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The Beauty in Serving

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Picture this: you’re sitting in church or your weekly youth group and they’re going through the announcements. Simple enough right? You may check your phone during this time, maybe daydream a little if given enough minutes. By the end, you haven’t heard a thing of what was going on that week. You figure to yourself, “Why should I listen to serving opportunities, when it has absolutely nothing to do with me?” After this you continue on with your day as usual. However, you probably don’t realize that what you said is false. Serving opportunities not only apply to you, but the community around you.

It’s more common than you would think. We as Christians may do a lot inside of our church, but we disregard the outside. Whilst it is always good to help our friends and neighbors, and assist in serving for church events, the impact from serving outside the church is absolutely incredible. So today’s topic is all about outside serving-meaning serving in our community-and the true beauty of it.

Serving opportunities are everywhere. They may not seem like they are, but trust me you’ll find them practically anywhere. Your local church may sponsor outside organizations that help smaller communities to flourish again, such as The Well in Curtis Bay. Or maybe a shelter has left a flyer on your door asking for volunteers. On a bigger scale there are even yearly trips to the Dominican Republic, all for the sake of helping others. These shelters always need help, and we as young Christians certainly can give a hand. So what’s holding us back?

Some would say obligations, others simply claim they wouldn’t fit in with such a situation, but here’s the thing: we should always have time for God-for serving Him by serving the people He loves. No matter what’s going on during the week, a little here and there to help out surely won’t ruin your free time. Sometimes we can even multitask with two things at once. Take spending some time at Morningside with the members of our youth group for example. Whilst you’re there you can maybe share some of the things you enjoy doing at home, like your art or music. Anything you’d do whilst relaxing can actually really open someone’s eyes and connect with them. That’s another thing; our talents, can be useful for others. Have to practice your trumpet? Practice it while serving! It’d certainly make the people there much more cheerful.

Here’s the thing. We always put things in our way. We can always find something stopping us from helping. I understand this too. For me I always assumed I was much too busy to help out, but in truth I couldn’t be bothered. That is, until I tried serving up in Curtis Bay. There was approximately twelve of us. Four girls (including me) did face painting at an even at The Well. At first I was a little discouraged, and nervous I wouldn’t be good enough to work on it. By the end, I was smiling ear to ear! Why? Because of the smiles I put on the kids’ faces when they had their faces painted to look like a character. None of my fears mattered anymore, it was just enjoyable to see them so happy.

It’s for this reason that I seriously encourage anyone that is on the fence to seriously try serving outside the building, you won’t regret it! It’s an amazing experience, and when you see how happy it makes others, you’ll feel God’s presence

 

Prayer Of The Month!

“Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve.
To give and not to count the cost.
To fight and not to heed the wounds.
To toil and not to seek for rest.
To labor and not to ask for reward.
Save that of knowing that I am doing your will.”
-St Ignatius




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Angels 101

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So, what do you picture when you think of the word “Angel”? Maybe a cute chubby little baby with wings comes to mind; or a tall brooding figure with enormous wings carrying a message. There are also many that consider them human looking, like us, made in the image and likeness of God. Except that isn't exactly accurate to what they really look like according to what we know based off the Bible. So without further ado, let’s myth bust the common person's’ perception of angels.

Fact 1

Did you know 68% of Americans say that they believe in both angels and demons? Many actually only believe in  one or the other.

Myth 1

“Angels always have wings, how else would they be able to get places so quickly?”

Nope, contrary to what most modern Christians believe, angels having wings have never been absolutely proven in the Bible, actually quite the opposite. Here’s a verse that describes angels as something else.

Hebrews 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Spirits? Spirits don’t exactly have wings, so this actually points more to them appearing like a spectra would. However i’m sure many are already asking, “But what about the quotes claiming angels have wings?” Here’s the thing, the quotes mentioning this concept do have context such as the quote:

Isaiah 6:2 - Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

As you may already be able to tell, the way this is stated doesn’t seem to claim that the wings were attached to them, but rather it was something that appeared with  them. Humans, always look for normality, and with the way Isaiah claimed he did fly, its possible these creatures showed themselves to him in a way that seemed logical, for them simply appearing in their real form he may of mistaken them for something other than God’s angels. More than likely, the reason they can get to people so quickly is because they appear rather than fly, and the wings are more of a human visualization of what they should look like. That actually brings us to our second myth.

Myth 2

“Don’t angels look just like humans?”

Not necessarily, because like prior mentioned, angels take on appearances that make them less threatening to humans. What’s less threatening to a human than another human? Most likely, angels are like energy, which would also explain why some people feel like angels are around, but they don’t appear right in front of you. Angels already have abilities far greater than any person, and whenever mentioned in the Bible one important word is always stated: “Appeared.” This word, as mentioned before, isn’t stating that angels looked like humans, but rather that’s how they appeared to them. We can see this in the quote:

Luke 1:11-20 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.

Appeared, once again is repeated here, and  remember how context is absolutely everything. The Bible has been written to perfection, and it is stated that every word written down in that book was influenced by God himself. Every word. Appeared, was a precise word choice, and it wasn’t by chance in the slightest. God created us in his image, to his greatest extent. Remember, God originally created us in Eden without sin, however the tree also gave us humans practically every critical thought. Angels, are probably a step above humans, and are closer to God than humans in the aspect of being without sin. They resemble God in their flawlessness. If this were a test on how closely linked image wise angels were to God compared to humans, based off biblical text we can guess angels are 80% and humans are 50%. Angels, do not have the same power as God himself, as seen when God damned the devil to hell. No one can outmatch God. The main difference between us and angels is that humans sinned and ate the fruit, angels did not.

Fact  2

Did you know that the devil was once an angel? He was banished when he attempted to overthrow God.

 

Well, angels are a confusing bunch. The same faith that we put in God, we can put in his messengers. After all, they come from one of the same. Angels, throughout the Bible have been crucial to help give and receive messages to and from the Lord. The main reason that this is important is because they deserve to be talked about and remembered. Many say they believe in God, yet they do not believe in angels. Like prior mentioned they are a key to many bible stories, like with the angel Gabriel and the good news he gave Mary. They matter. Without them, many may of been intimidated by the gospel. They mimicked humans appearance to seem less frightening at first glance, so that people would come to them.

People in my life, and those in yours will mention angels, I promise you. Now when they ask you these things, you’ll be equipped with the answers! Oh, and if you’re wondering why there are only two myths here, I’m planning on making this a series on angels, demons, and some figures in the Bible, so you can be prepared for these common questions.

 

Have a suggestion for the next blog? Please email me at

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Anxiety and Loneliness : How to cope through God’s word

Have you ever felt yourself begin to listen to your thoughts too much? No matter how hard you try, you can’t get your mind off that bad test grade, or maybe that recent breakup. No matter the reason, those thoughts can quickly can turn into an extremely negative headspace. Sometimes we as humans naturally look at the negative before the positive, and that can lead to anxiety. Whenever we feel anxious, we can also turn to isolation which only furthers our irrational worries and makes things worse.

So how can we break the cycle?

It can be hard to pinpoint, but a great start is to begin with the Lord’s word, at least that’s a great start to lessening your overall anxiety. Here are some good tactics when it comes to curing anxiety through Jesus.

Step One: Focus your attention on Jesus first

This may seem very simple at an initial glances, all you have to do for this step is to focus right?

This isn’t as simple as it appears because it requires you to change your thinking entirely. You may be a Christian, but that doesn’t mean you too don’t struggle with relaxing and just thinking about the gospel. Try this small exercise to get yourself in the right mindset. Close your eyes, and breathe in slowly. When you do this, think about those worries that were bothering you. When you breathe out, say to yourself, “Jesus calms me.” It may seem silly, but it does work.

Repeat this enough times until you’ve completely focused on Jesus. Remember, it’s okay to be uncomfortable at first, because as humans we desperately don’t want to lose control, but it’s important to lift your concerns up to God because it will greatly calm your mood. Once you’ve done this we can move on to the next step

Step Two: Using the gospel

Whenever we feel anxious, it could be a great help just to sit down and listen to the word of God for a while. The Lord talks to us all the time through his words, and this is no exception.

Remember when you do this, it’s always a great step to find somewhere quiet to think. Then open up your bible app or physical book and just start reading! Books I suggest for helping calm stress would be James, Luke, and Psalms, however you can definitely pick whatever book you like. Remember the first step, and just keep yourself focused on what you’re reading and hearing. Analyze it. The goal here to take your mind off of your stress. In most cases you might just find God has already given an answer to your problem. Again, the key to this is to keep yourself focused on nothing but the Lord.

Step Three : Record and remember it!

Now for the final step.

For this all you really need is to take notes, on your phone or on paper. Once you’ve listened to the message, record what resonated with you most. Write it down. Absolutely anything you’d want to remember for later. This could be a certain word or phrase that just connected with you in some way, really anything works.

Continue to do this each time you listen to or read the word. Keep this book with you at all times. Whenever you feel yourself feeling like you’re on the brink or anxiety starts to get to you, look at your quote book. Reread those words of encouragement, it’ll lighten your mood and remind you he’s there for you always. It’s the most important message you’ll ever learn.

With that in mind, you’ll improve your stress level in no time!

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